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It Was the Dentures

A 72-year-old man in the UK underwent surgery to remove a benign tumor in his chest. The surgery was successful, but the patient soon began to experience other problems: throat pain, bleeding from his mouth, and trouble swallowing. Doctors treated him with antibiotics, assuming it was an infection. That didn't help, and he was eventually readmitted to the hospital for treatment of pneumonia.  

But when a new set of doctors actually looked inside the man’s throat, after the man again complained about his symptoms, they quickly spotted something lodged across his larynx. And that’s when the man revealed that his partial dentures had mysteriously gotten lost about a week earlier. The most likely scenario is that the man had inhaled them when he was intubated.

Keeping people’s dentures in is thought to make it easier for anesthesia to be given to them through a bag-mask, but they should obviously be taken out immediately before any intubation starts, the report noted.

If you ever have surgery, make a note to tell your surgical team about any dentures or non-permanent oral prosthetics before they put you under. The kicker is that the patient's problems continued for a long time after the dentures were removed from his throat. Learn the details of this story at Gizmodo.

(Image credit: Harriet A Cunniffe/BMJ)


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